BIO

Al Errington - Governance Advocate
Al Errington ~ Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Governance Expert

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. I learned innovation, collaboration and responsible, accountable decision-making from a very early age. Growing up in tourism connected me with diverse perspectives from all over the world in life, business and politics and helped shape my independence of thought.

I am a philosopher in the traditional sense. I love learning, knowledge, and truth. Not truth in regard to honesty, although that is very important, but truth in perceiving reality clearly, without illusion or prejudice.

Governance is fascinating, very poorly understood broadly, and a substantial influence in global economic and political issues. Governance is the structure, relationships and processes of authority, responsibility and accountability in a business or organization. Good Governance is not a process or structure. Good Governance is a result of being Focused, Effective and Accountable. I do like and apply many of the recognized governance structures and tools, but I consider none of them to be good governance in and of themselves. Good governance is being Focused in Purpose, Effective in Implementation, Accountable in Results. I have developed a number of graphics and instructional approaches to help make governance easier to understand so good governance is easier to achieve.

Organizational governance has been a passion since my years as Board Chair and President of NOTO – Nature & Outdoor Tourism Ontario www.NOTO.ca. I was a member of NOTO’s board of directors for 10 years; 2 years as a director, 6 years as president and chair of the board of directors, and 2 years as past-president before retiring from the NOTO board of directors in 2012. NOTO is a 86 year old organization which represents the nature and outdoor tourism industry of Ontario Canada. I developed many of my own governance tools to help the NOTO board of directors, and other boards I have been involved with, understand and support good governance.

I am also one of the founders and still currently co-chair of CAPTrains – Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains www.CAPTrains.ca. In developing CAPTrains, I drew heavily on my governance expertise to ensure we formed as effective and focused an organization as possible as we have had limited resources and our initiative is long and protracted. Our focus and determination has allowed us to progress to a very interesting position lately. Developing CAPTrains also led to the development of a much larger trains coalition NEORN – Northern & Eastern Ontario Rail Network www.NEORN.ca.

I am also on the Algoma Country Board of Directors, a regional tourism organization www.AlgomaCountry.com, which also spearheaded the formation of Tourism Northern Ontario www.TourismNorthernOntario.com, an organization that partners with the governments of Ontario and Canada to support tourism in the largest tourism region of Ontario Canada. On the Algoma Country board I have a reputation for Governance expertise and diverse tourism product development knowledge.

Most of my values in governance derive from policy governance, which was developed by John Carver. My initial focus in governance education however, is first to ensure understanding of good governance, what the primary roles and responsibilities of good governance are, and the relationships between them. As good governance is essentially effective, accountable delegation applied systemically in a business or organization, I include instruction on effective, accountable delegation as part of the presentations on governance roles, responsibilities and relationships. I have developed two graphics, which are available in our website, that help illustrate governance roles, responsibilities and the relationships of effective, accountable delegation that join and support them.

For a number of years I was on the OTMP – Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnersip Outdoors Committee www.TourismPartners.com, advising on product development for Outdoor and Nature Tourism. I also introduced some governance changes to OTMP during this time which helped the OTMP board become better connected to their product development committees.

I am also a past member of the national board of directors of the Canadian Ski Patrol www.CSPS.ca where I was responsible for on trail training for Cross Country Ski Patrollers for all of Canada for a number of years. I was in the Canadian Ski Patrol for 16 years and served in a number of positions. I was also a professional cross country ski instructor for a few years and developed a cross country ski instruction program for to teach cross country skiing to all the grade 7 students in Sault Ste Marie public schools. And I was a professional Ski Patroller for Searchmont Ski Resort for 2 years.

My wife Doris and I have two children. Our son Devin is studying Oceanography at Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada, and our Daughter Morgan is studying biology at Guelph University in Guelph Ontario with the ambition to continue into Veterinary Medicine.

I grew up in the tourism industry of Ontario Canada and I have almost 40 years experience in nature and outdoor tourism. My wife Doris and I still own our family’s business which is Errington’s Wilderness Island on Wabatongushi Lake in the Chapleau Game Preserve www.WildernessIsland.com. My wife, Doris, is also a second-generation tourist outfitter growing up from the early 1970’s in her family’s business, Lakeshore Salzburgerhof Resort in Batchawana Bay, www.SalzburgerhofResort.com.

I have done everything in wilderness tourism from building and renovating log cabins, to guiding, to product and activity development, to marketing and website work, to management, to ownership, to involvement in tourism politics and lobbying. When I worked for my parents I was responsible for building all of the log buildings, most of the maintenance, some of the guiding and most of the marketing. My wife and I took over my parents resort in 1994. It was a traditional fishing resort of a higher quality. My wife and I diversified the activities we offered our guests to include a range of eco-tourism experiences, especially moose and bear watching and nature interpretation, and we more than doubled our business in about 4 years. Unfortunately, in the early 2000’s we had substantial train schedule and service cuts, which resulted in some shrincage of our business however we still serve approximately 800 guests each year and employ 12-14 people. I became heavily involved in support of the Algoma passenger train because of this and we are making progress on returning to good train service. Our resort is remote with 85% of our guests arriving by wilderness train and the rest by floatplane. Our touris lodge is 206 miles north of Sault Ste Marie via the Algoma Central Railway or float plane on a secluded island, on Lake Wabatongushi in the southwest corner of the Chapleau Wildlife Preserve.

My current recreational interests are: Cross Country Skiing, Telemark Skiing, Downhill Skiing, Snow Machining, Ice Fishing, Wildlife Study, Bird Watching, Photography, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing and Kayaking. Other recreational interests I have pursued through the years include: Rock Climbing, Canoeing Tripping, Downhill Skiing, Hunting, Back Country Skiing, Winter and Summer Camping, Hunting both for small game and moose, Road Biking, Cross Country Ski Racing and Amateur Theatre where I both acted on stage and I did set design and construction back stage.

Thank You
Al Errington
Governance Advocate - Focused, Effective, Accountable Governance